Growing up, North Carolina summers always meant exploring the coast, whether that was building sandcastles on the beach or kayaking through the marshy sounds. As a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am finishing my degrees in economics and public policy. My interests lie in the intersection of environmental sustainability and public health. The coast is a perfect example of a community that must work together to protect its environment. During my time at the federation this summer, I am eager to gain hands-on experience in the advocacy, research and fieldwork necessary for meaningful environmental conservation and restoration. It’s very rewarding to know the contributions I will make this summer will help conserve the coast I know and love.
The water has always called to me. I was born on Florida’s west coast, and some of my earliest memories are of sailing on Tampa Bay with my family. For nearly two decades, though, I’ve called North Carolina my home — and it’s a place that I feel a duty to protect. I studied entrepreneurship and sustainability at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and after graduation worked for an innovative wholesale distributor for local organic farms. In 2015, I elected to go back to school at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment to obtain a master’s degree in coastal environmental management, because my interests have expanded from our farms and food to our coasts and waters. This summer I’m eager to acquire more experience in fieldwork and hands-on restoration, immerse myself in coastal policy in action and gain experience serving a leading nonprofit in the area of coastal conservation, education and advocacy.
I’m currently studying environmental science and music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a variety of interests in coastal policy, city planning and food systems. I grew up in Morehead City and, for as long as I can remember, I have felt greatly connected to North Carolina’s coastlines and waters. However, my interest in the environment wasn’t truly sparked until I took a class on sustainable cities my first semester in college. Since then, the way in which I perceive my interactions with my surroundings has changed immensely. I’m much more aware of the interconnectedness of the environment, our communities, educational institutions and political systems. I’ve also developed the understanding that being here in this moment may be considered a privilege to generations down the road. Serving as an intern at the federation this summer brings me back to my roots, and I’m looking forward to working to restore and protect the coast’s shoreline and ecosystems.
Inspired by my time spent exploring the woods and prairies of my home state of Minnesota and participating in local conservation efforts, I decided to pursue a career centered on the protection of the environment. Through my coursework and research studying environmental science at Duke University, I have discovered that what I find most compelling is the connection between the everyday actions of individuals and the environment and how environmental education and community engagement can develop and strengthen those connections. New to the North Carolina coast, I am eager to explore and work to protect the coastal ecosystems of North Carolina through my work at the federation this summer.